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AGM Minutes 2020

Minutes for Birkbeck UCU AGM 9th July 2020

Apologies: Mike Berlin and Andi Fugard

Chair: John Kelly


Item 1: Previous Minutes

The minutes from the last AGM were agreed.

No Action


Items 2 and 3: Workload, job protection, strike pay deductions


Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormmick updated us:


Job Protection

The no detriment policy that was implemented last past term will be continued into the autumn. The college agreed in principle to the job protection scheme aimed at T&S staff mostly, which also included support staff and research staff but we don’t have the full details yet.


T&S staff who have had 4+ years of service will be offered new work or redeployment.

Those due to work next term with 2 years of service will also be offered redeployment.

Lots of the redeployment will be in the digital education area.

There may be a greater demand for T&S staff because of the online teaching. The college will be sending out messages over the next few days



There are concerns for traditional academic staff around workload and working situations. Inappropriate work stations, stress, difficult family situations have all contributed.


Eleni Liarou commented that the next step will be to draw a list of online activities that we need to do next term.  She asked if the T&S who have done teaching this term could send feedback on the types of activities they carried out.


Staff should be allowed to bring work desktop, monitors and chairs home will solve a lot of H&S issues.


Training:  T&S staff need online teaching training; we don’t yet know what the plan is but RGM confirmed that the college will be paying for it.


Strike pay deductions

The college’s initial proposal was to deduct half the amount. They haven’t yet told us how many were on strike. We said we could take deductions from the highest level of pay but college said this wouldn’t be enough.


A message will be sent to T&S staff asking for feedback on how the online teaching has been progressing.


Item 4: Update of the previous year

The new teaching only contracts began this year but there are not many staff on these contracts. The new contracts are voluntary and we aim to keep them this way. We also introduced a promotion pathway and some staff who have been lecturers for many years are now senior lecturers.

Insourcing has gone well in the last year.

Membership numbers are down from 665 to 622 but following this year’s strike action we tidied up the database and removed approximately 40 names from the membership list (staff who had retired, transferred or left but had not informed the union), this means the membership numbers are similar to last year.


No action


Item 5: Treasurer’s Report

John Kelly:

Finances are not in very good shape. Our deficit rose from £3000 - £6000 but this is being addressed and now stands at around £2000.


A document about local subs was sent round which proposed a modest increase:

Highest paid group to have an increase of 50p per month and the lowest 33p per month.

Local subs raise was agreed y those present.


John Kelly also reminded us that unless we write to the union directly to let them know about staff promotions then the membership information will not be updated and members will remain on a lower sub rate. It is essential that members update their membership information if they have a change of circumstance.


No action


Item 6: Elections

Treasurer: Eva Szatmari - nominated JK and RGM

Joint Branch membership co-ordinator: Ashok Kumar - nominated by Tanya Serisier and Paddy McDaid

Joint Branch membership co-ordinator: Jas Blackwell-Pal - Nominated by Tanya Serisier and Paddy McDaid

Environment Officer: Anna Hartnell - nominated by John Kelly

T&S Officer Joint: Eleni Liarou and Robert Stearn - nominated by Paddy McDaid and Eleni Liarou

President: Tanya Serisier - nominated by Paddy McDaid and Ashok Kumar

Vice President (re-standing) and H&S Officer: Rebecca Gumbrell McCormick

Vice President T&S: Mike Berlin

Vic President Support Staff: Simon Deville

Pensions Officer (restanding): Nick Pronger

Welfare Officer (restanding): Andi Fugard

Equality Officer (joint): Aviah Day and Chrys Papaioannou – nominated by Robert Stearn and Steve Edwards


General Committee members:

Alex Colas

Trevor Fenner

Lou Miller

Paddy McDaid


During the meeting it became clear that there was confusion in relation to the position of President. While the Branch has historically had a 3-person Presidential role (with a President for each main group of staff) in recent years this has not been the case. Only one Presidential role was advertised but nominations were received for the 3-person role. The meeting resolved to maintain the single Presidential post as advertised.



Final Item: Farewell and Thanks

John Kelly is retiring after 9 years in post as Branch President. The Branch, and many individual members, expressed its sincere gratitude and well wishes for the future.